The Aristocracy of Intent
posted at 3:18 pm on July 23, 2009 by Doctor Zero
President Obama’s bizarre prime-time press conference last night illustrated one of the worst aspects of socialism: the insularity of its elites. This was clearly the performance of someone who expects to be shielded from criticism, opposition, practical considerations, and the results of his actions.
People often wonder how liberals can regard themselves as such an enlightened elite, while running down every other aspect of the society they nominally belong to. If every successful person in America is greedy, cruel, and selfish, how can financially successful liberals claim to be morally superior? The answer is nothing so simple as hypocrisy, although liberals are very sensitive to that accusation, and constantly project it onto others. The truth was visible in Obama’s press conference last night. What you saw was not a humble servant of the people, carrying out his duties as the executive of a constitutional republic. It wasn’t even a man discussing an idea he thinks is brilliant, and trying to convince others to support it. It was a monarch who could barely conceal his anger and frustration at those who dare to question his wisdom. Liberals regard themselves as an aristocracy of intent, a privileged class made superior by their dedication to “selfless” principles.
Naturally, such an insular elite sees itself surrounded by enemies. These enemies cannot, by definition, have anything but the most vile and selfish motives – otherwise, they would be supporting the liberal program, not opposing it. That’s why Obama was willing to make an utter fool of himself last night, by characterizing doctors as bloodthirsty ghouls who can’t wait to dismantle our children and sell them for scrap, starting with their tonsils. It’s interesting that Obama didn’t have anything better prepared for his press conference, since he went in knowing the public was turning decisively against him. He really didn’t think he would need to do anything other than dazzle his audience with his limitless compassion and charisma, while pointing out what soulless monsters his opponents are.
Liberal voters are always eager to excuse the failures of their leadership by emphasizing how much they “care.” You can find this sort of thinking deployed on Obama’s behalf today. At least he’s trying to “do something” about the health-care “crisis,” which we can no longer ignore! Of course, this “broken” health-care system has higher approval ratings than any politician in the country. We should be spending more time worrying about how to fix our broken government. It’s especially rich to hear the architect of the “stimulus” swindle criticize anyone else for trying to rob customers by billing for unnecessary procedures. Is the total value of all extraneous medical procedures for the past six months more than $787 billion?
As it stands, government is far more responsible than any business interest for the systemic problems that do exist in the medical industry., but this idea simply does not appear on the liberal radar screen. The intent of benevolent big-government programs places their results beyond criticism. To the Left, it simply is not possible that “reforms” intended to increase access to health care, and make it more affordable, could result in rationing and higher prices… any more than increases in tax rates could lead to reduced revenue for the government. Since nothing could ever be improved by reducing government involvement, that option is presumptively swept off the table, leaving the Left to devise increasingly wasteful and counter-productive schemes to address the problems with its previous schemes. A sinking ship is extremely difficult to repair, if you begin by declaring the big hole in the side of the hull cannot possibly by the reason you’re taking on water.
The radiant aura of their good intentions insulates liberals from even the most basic criticisms they level at others. Lots of those “greedy” health care professionals are female, but I doubt many of them are rocking $6000.00 handbags like Michele Obama. You’d have to steal a lot of tonsils to afford the kind of million-dollar night on Broadway the Obamas are known to enjoy. The moral superiority of leftist politics transcends any personal transgressions he might have committed. When Ted Kennedy finally passes away, you can expect the media to float the idea that Mary Jo Kopechne’s life was a small price to pay for decades of having this magnificent liberal lion stalk the halls of the Senate.
The Left is also very selective in who it chooses to criticize for greed and selfishness. We obviously aren’t meant to hate hard-working schoolteachers or auto workers for striving to provide the best for their families, but we’re supposed to hate hard-working dentists so much that we’ll turn their entire industry into a penitentiary. By the way, the median income for those evil tonsil-grabbing pediatricians is about $150k per year. How much is Henry Gates pulling down per year? The President seemed a lot more concerned about inconveniencing Gates than he did about disrupting the lives of the millions who are happy with their current health insurance.
The power of the free-market capitalism despised by the Democrats is that it shows far more interest in results than intentions. The free market has very little time to spare for well-meaning failures. It certainly doesn’t appropriate a couple million dollars worth of prime-time television to ram them down people’s throats. The profit motive, so casually impugned by desperate liberals, is the best thing going for the consumers of any product – from health care, to computers, to cat food – because it is the best way to ensure the highest level of sustained effort from the greatest number of producers. If health care is completely nationalized, there are some doctors who will continue to practice their trade with undiminished dedication, entirely out of concern for their patients… but neither health care, nor any other industry, can rely entirely on the efforts of such people.
The angry and confused man on television last night did not think he would ever find himself playing defense – and losing. He thought he only needed to announce he was giving away “free” health care, then bask in the adulation of the grateful multitudes, like any beloved king. Aristocrats rarely take criticism well, and they lack a capitalist’s creative energy for dealing with setbacks. If you ever do need your tonsils out, you’re better off hiring a greedy doctor than a caring bureaucrat. It looks like you might just be allowed to continue making that decision.